Syracuse keeps Pitt from trip to top

No. 2 Panthers fall, 67-65

buzzer-beating bid is late

February 02, 2003|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - As is usually the case, Carmelo Anthony did a little of everything for Syracuse last night. At the end of a surreal finish at the Carrier Dome, he even confirmed for a raucous crowd of 30,303 that the precocious Orangemen had beaten Pittsburgh, 67-65, and denied the Panthers their first No. 1 ranking.

Anthony, the freshman forward from Baltimore who was The Sun's Player of the Year in 2001 and will most likely play for pay in the NBA next season, stood on the scorer's table as officials viewed a television monitor to determine if Brandin Knight's three-pointer had beaten the buzzer. When they ruled it was late, Anthony let fans who had already twice stormed the court know that it was all right to resume the celebration.

No. 24 Syracuse (14-3, 5-2) got the winning basket in the Big East Conference brawl on a put-back with three seconds left by Jeremy McNeil. It was his only field-goal attempt of the game.

Anthony's steal got the Orangemen that possession. He didn't have his best offensive game of the season, as he was limited to 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting and missed more than five minutes midway through the second half after his fourth foul, but Anthony grabbed 13 rebounds.

With top-ranked Arizona losing earlier in the week to Stanford, No. 2 Pittsburgh (15-2, 5-1) would have assumed the top position in the polls with a win.

The Panthers led by 14 in the first half and by 13 three minutes into the second, but a five-minute scoreless drought opened the door for an inspired comeback by the Orangemen, who got 20 points from sophomore Hakim Warrick and 15 from Kueth Duany.

It was the largest regular-season crowd at the Carrier Dome in nearly three years.

"I guess we can get crowds again," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We just have to play the No. 2 team in the country. The fans won the game as much as we did."

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